It may be the most wonderful time of the year but if we're not intentional, it can quickly morph into the craziest, busiest and most stressful season of all. My antidote? The K.I.S.S. Principle. What's the K.I.S.S Principle? An easy acronym meaning this:
Keep It Simple Sister.
This time of year less really is more. Less stress, less commercialism, less money spent, and fewer expectations equals more time with family, more chance to appreciate the wonder of the season, more peace of mind and enjoyment of all this beautiful season has to offer.
There's no heroism in being completely worn out come January first. The month of December can be a wonderful time of reflection on the past twelve months and a time of planning for the year ahead. We can take time to celebrate the true reason for the season! But only if we remember to K.I.S.S.
Here are five proactive ways you can keep it simple in your home and family:
- Just Say No– You don't have to attend every function you're invited to or go to every cookie exchange/white elephant party/Christmas play or concert. Decide with your family what's most important. A night at home baking cookies and drinking cocoa or playing games will make lifelong memories your children will cherish.
- Cut the Consumption–It's easy to overdo and succumb to the pressure to buy everything on your children's lists. As a grandma of two little ones, I'm the queen of going overboard but this year I'm vowing to be guided by this simple but brilliant little jingle: One thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to wear, one thing to read. This will make your life so much easier and your pocket book so much happier! What do we want our kids to learn about Christmas anyway? That it's a season driven by consumerism and debt or a season to celebrate God's gift of Jesus in our lives?
- Do Unto Others–It's the ideal time of year to illustrate the power of giving. Every community has loads of opportunities for helping the less fortunate. Bake cookies together for an elderly neighbor. Shovel snow for the single mom down the street. Go to the local nursing home or children's hospital and sing for the patients. Volunteer with your kids to serve a meal at the local homeless shelter. Take a portion of your Christmas budget and let your kids help choose a charity or family dealing with unemployment to give it too. There are loads of ways we can bless others at Christmas. Remember, what we model our children will follow.
- Teach the Christmas Story–I love traditions like advent calendars, Jesse trees and advent wreaths with candles to light every Sunday during advent. They help us walk through December with reverence and wonder at all God has done for us by sending His son. Take time each day to reflect on His goodness and holiness. Have your children come up with different things they're thankful for each day of the season. It will help take our focus off the consumerism and onto the baby in the manger and what His birth means.
- Turn off the Electronics–We're so connected to the world we miss what's right in front of us! Take time each day to untether from phones, iPads, computers, and social media and make time to do something fun. Build a snowman. Bake your favorite Christmas treats. Watch a beloved holiday movie. Play a family game. Be face to face with each other. I like to declare 'cell-phone free zones', especially at meal times.
Distractions abound in our busy lives and tug our hearts away from the important and the sacred especially in December. The tyranny of the urgent seduces and traps our hearts with flattering but empty promises. And we find ourselves paying attention to everything but what matters. Let's make this December a different kind of month. A month of remembering the incredible gift we have in Christ. And let's keep the K.I.S.S. principle firmly in mind. When in doubt, Keep It Simple Sister!!